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A Mathematical Model Reveals Long-Distance Cell Communication Mechanism
How can tens of thousands of people in a large football stadium all clap together with the same beat even though they can only hear the people near them clapping? A combination of a partial differential equation and a synthetic circuit in microbes answers this question. An interdisciplinary collaborative team of Professor Jae Kyoung Kim at KAIST, Professor Krešimir Josić at the University of Houston, and Professor Matt Bennett at Rice University has identified how a large community can communicate with each other almost simultaneously even with very short distance signaling. The research was reported at Nature Chemical Biology. Cells often communicate using signaling molecules, which can travel only a short distance. Nevertheless, the cells can also communicate over large distances to spur collective action. The team revealed a cell communication mechanism that quickly forms a network of local interactions to spur collective action, even in large communities. The research team used an engineered transcriptional circuit of combined positive and negative feedback loops in E. coli, which can periodically release two types of signaling molecules: activator and repressor. As the signaling molecules travel over a short distance, cells can only talk to their nearest neighbors. However, cell communities synchronize oscillatory gene expression in spatially extended systems as long as the transcriptional circuit contains a positive feedback loop for the activator. Professor Kim said that analyzing and understanding such high-dimensional dynamics was extremely difficult. He explained, “That’s why we used high-dimensional partial differential equation to describe the system based on the interactions among various types of molecules.” Surprisingly, the mathematical model accurately simulates the synthesis of the signaling molecules in the cell and their spatial diffusion throughout the chamber and their effect on neighboring cells. The team simplified the high-dimensional system into a one-dimensional orbit, noting that the system repeats periodically. This allowed them to discover that cells can make one voice when they lowered their own voice and listened to the others. “It turns out the positive feedback loop reduces the distance between moving points and finally makes them move all together. That’s why you clap louder when you hear applause from nearby neighbors and everyone eventually claps together at almost the same time,” said Professor Kim. Professor Kim added, “Math is a powerful as it simplifies complex thing so that we can find an essential underlying property. This finding would not have been possible without the simplification of complex systems using mathematics." The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Hamill Foundation, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the T.J. Park Science Fellowship of POSCO supported the research. (Figure: Complex molecular interactions among microbial consortia is simplified as interactions among points on a limit cycle (right).)
Box-shaped Pressure Vessel for LNG Developed by KAIST Research Team
Earlier today, Korean researchers successfully showcased the installation and operation of a box-shaped, high-pressure tank for the storage of liquefied natural gas in Pohang, Republic of Korea. The development was the first of its kind in the world. Pressure vessels have many applications and are widely used within the petrochemical, energy, and other industrial sectors where the transport and storage of many types of pressurized gases and fluids are essential. Pressure vessels must be designed, manufactured, installed, and operated strictly in accordance with the appropriate codes and standards since they can, in cases of leak or rupture, pose considerable health and safety hazards. Pressure vessels are normally designed in the form of a cylindrical or spherical tank. These shapes are, in principle, highly efficient in withstanding internal pressure, but rather inefficient in terms of space utilization. The tanks fit very poorly within a typically prismatic-shaped room. They cannot be packed closely together, so they do not efficiently utilize the overall space. Moreover, cylindrical or spherical tanks are not easily scalable to very large sizes because the wall thickness of the tank must increase proportionally to its overall radius. Therefore, a large pressure vessel unavoidably will have very thick walls, which are difficult and expensive to manufacture, requiring a great amount of thick-walled steel to be rolled, forged, and welded together. KAIST researchers, sponsored by POSCO, a multinational steel-making company based in Pohang, Republic of Korea, have taken a turnabout approach to construct a pressure vessel that is neither cylindrical nor spherical. Professors Pål G. Bergan and Daejun Chang and of Ocean Systems Engineering at KAIST developed a box-type, large size pressure vessel for the storage and transportation of liquids such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The box-shaped pressure vessel has an internal, load-carrying lattice-type structure. The lattice pattern is modular in all three spatial directions, thereby effectively anchoring and balancing pressure forces on the external walls of the vessel. The modular lattice can easily be adapted to prescribed pressure levels as the overall volumetric dimensions are directly linked to the number of repetitive modules. A giant prismatic pressure vessel with a size of 20,000 m3 and a design pressure of 10 atmospheres (10 barg) can be built simply by scaling up a smaller size pressure vessel. It is interesting to note that the thickness of steel walls remains unchanged and that the weight of steel per unit storage volume goes down as the vessel size increases. Professor Chang explained the benefit of a prismatic or box-shaped pressure vessel.“If we use cylindrical pressure vessels to supply LNG fuel for a large container ship, for example, many fuel tanks will be needed. Those tanks will take up large and valuable space onboard because the cylinders have to be lined up. In our case, however, much less space is needed. The operation of a ship becomes simpler with one fuel tank rather than with many. Furthermore, our box-type pressure vessel can be designed with dimensions that precisely fit a ship. For a container ship, there may be room for a substantially higher number of containers to be loaded than when using cylindrical vessels. In a case study on a 13,000 TEU container ship, the value of the increased transport capacity tuned out USD 8.4 million for one year of operation for one ship.”The manufacturing cost of a pressure vessel has been reduced as well. Several types of special steel for cryogenic (low temperature) applications have been investigated in design and analysis studies, and this includes a new type of high-manganese steel that is being developed by POSCO. Regardless of materials, in any instance of large pressure vessels, the new lattice tank technology can offer significant savings of combined capital and operational costs. Professor Bergan was also upbeat regarding the impact of the KAIST technology innovation. “Our box-type pressure vessel represents ground-breaking research. This innovative technology will dramatically change the rules of the game for industry concerning production, transportation, and storage of fluids under high pressure and at low temperatures.”The showcased prismatic pressure vessel was a scale-down model with a volume size of 80 m3 and design pressure of 10 atmospheres. The vessel complies with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC), the international standard for the appropriateness of design, fabrication, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels. It passed the 15 pressure testing in January 2014 and received an accreditation from the ASME BPVC (ASME U2 Stamp). KAIST’s prismatic pressure vessel will be presented and displayed at Gastech 2014, the largest global conference and exhibition in the natural gas, LNG, and hydrocarbons industry. This event will take place on March 24-27 at KINTEX in Ilsan, Republic of Korea. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woJwc5zisxk&list=TLGOLcI7L6_YYTn0lImPqNyeppQWRXqUt5Picture 1: The prototype of a prismatic pressure vesselPicture 2: A lattice pattern that is lined inside a prismatic pressure tankPicture 3: Above is a container ship having a box-shaped pressure vessel as a fuel tank, and below are traditional cylindrical fuel tanks.
2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities
KAIST’s 4th International Presidential Forum Held in Seoul on November 8, 2011 The largest annual congregation of university presidents in Asia invited leaders from academia, government, and industry for talks on issues related to higher education in the Age of Globalization. Borderless and Creative Education: the ability to cross borders a crucial key to dominate the information era Seoul, Republic of Korea, November 8, 2011—The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) hosted the “2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU)” on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul. With more than 120 participants from 44 institutions in 27 countries present, the full-day forum provided participants with an opportunity to discuss challenges and responsibilities facing higher education in a time of globalization that has resulted from an ever-growing demand for technological innovation. In his plenary speech, Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of UC Berkeley, stressed that “Higher educational intuitions must be prepared to drive innovation and enhance competitiveness by educating a highly trained workforce that will have the critical skills necessary to solve problems and lead in today’s interdependent world.” “Finding solutions to the world’s most challenging problems will depend on the ability to cross borders: national borders, border between different fields of discipline and research, and borders between academe, government, and industry,” said Chancellor Birgeneau to address the importance of “borderless and creative education,” the theme of the forum. Other major keynote speakers were Jörg Steinbach, President of Technische Universität Berlin, Lars Pallesen, President of Technical University of Denmark, Paul F. Greenfield, President of University of Queensland, Marcelo Fernandes de Aquino, President of the University of the Sinos Valley (UNISINOS), and Eden Woon, Vice President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Dr. Nam-Pyo Suh, President of KAIST, gave talks on the university’s new education plan, “The I-Four Education,” at the afternoon session. The four Is are information technology (IT), independent learning, integrated knowledge acquisitions, and an international learning environment. “In this format, there are no formal lectures,” President Suh explained. “A group of students learn together by using the materials available on the internet, doing homework and conducting experiments together. Pre-recorded lectures are delivered in English by I-Four professors, some of them regular KAIST professors and some professors in other countries who participate in the I-Four Program as consulting professors.” He added, “The overall purpose of the I-Four Education Program is to encourage students to learn independently, gain exposure to the best lectures by the most eminent professors in the world, accelerate the development of a global frame of reference in the students by dealing with information available throughout the world, and provide an integrated learning environment by using diverse examples from many disciplines to achieve understanding of basic principles.” The 2011 IPFGRU, the fourth forum since its inception in 2008, rose to prominence in the past years as an international network for leaders of research universities from around the world to share information and exchange views about contemporary issues in higher education. At this year’s forum, entitled “Borderless and Creative Education,” speakers took a deeper look into the transitions and transformations many research universities are undergoing today, delving into the following topics: the development of e-learning and cyber campuses; increased student mobility and international collaborations; multi-disciplinary and convergence approaches in research and education; and methodology of nurturing future global leaders. Participants also discussed experiences and accomplishments earned from their own endeavors to accommodate such changes and presented ways to strengthen internationalization and improve the academic and research competitiveness of universities. The 2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU) was organized by KAIST and sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, POSCO, Hyundai Motor Company, Samsung Heavy Industries, S-Oil, and Elsevier Korea.
A new facility at KAIST opened on July 6, 2010.
Ryu Geun-Chul Sports Complelx will allow students, faculty and staff to pause a moment and exhale in the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. An opening ceremony celebrating the completion of a new facility for the KAIST family was held on July 6, 2010 at the campus. Had it not been for contributions of many people and organizations throughout the nation, among others, Dr. Geun-Chul Ryu, POSCO, Woori Bank, members of KAIST community, parents, and other citizens, it would be impossible to build the facility, said the university. The Complex, a three-story building with a basement, has an indoor court for basketball and volleyball with 3,000 individual seats, 200 meters of running track, indoor golf range, a fitness center, and other convenient facilities. Any members of KAIST community can visit the building and relax their body and mind stressed with work and study. It also provides a large space for ceremonial and cultural gatherings such as 2010 KAIST commencement ceremony. The official name of the building is “Ryu Geun-Chul Sports Complelx,” which was created in appreciation of Dr. Geun-Chul Ryu’s generous act who had donated 57.8 billion won worth of real estate to KAIST in August 2008.
Master of Science in Intellectual Property: First Class Starts on Saturday, February 6, 2010
Newly Established, Postgraduate Course for Master of Science in Intellectual Property First class starts on February 6th, 2010 In conjunction with Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), KAIST has established a new postgraduate course for a master of science in intellectual property (IP). 41 students have enrolled the course, and its first class will begin February 6th, 2010. With a diverse professional background, the first-year students came from private businesses, IP service industry, and public organizations. Globally well-known companies—Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and the Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO)—and mid-sized companies have offered scholarships to support the new M.S. Program. Business and industry in Korea have recognized the increasingly important role of intellectual property in a modern economy and showed a strong interest in developing workforce specialized in subjects such as, but not limited to, patent law, copyright and designs law, trade mark law, unfair competition, anti-trust law, competition law, and trade secret law. Prosecutor Chan-Gi Na from Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office said, “I’ve applied for the master program at KAIST because I wanted to learn more about intellectual property in greater depth. Through the coursework, I hope to enhance my knowledge on the subjects and use it for the protection of Koreans’ IP related rights and the development of our nation’s IP industry.” Assistant Manager Jin-Hong Bae from Samsung Securities, Inc. said, “Since the capital market law becomes effective, the need for developing new financial products or services in our finance market has rapidly grown. We no longer can make our financial products by simply copying or ripping off ideas from others. It’s a must practice, not an option, to set up a system under which we are able to protect our IPs.” “I would like to become an expert in our finance market, who really knows how to commercialize intellectual property assets into benefits, so any know-hows or ideas accumulated from years of working in the field can be registered and protected,” added Mr. Bae. KAIST’s Mater Program for intellectual property is designed for engineers who wish to acquire the skills required to play a leading role in the field. These engineers, KAIST anticipates, will establish and execute business strategies to protect intellectual property, generate added values for a company, and effectively respond against patent related claims. The intellectual property will seize up to 90% of business values to be generated in the 21st century. KAIST has long foreseen the need for training top-notch engineers in intellectual property. Combined with multidisciplinary approach to engineering, law, and management, the new M.S. Program will provide students with a variety form of classes to assist them in getting a practical knowledge as needed based on their interests and career aspirations. Examples of the classes are workshops on the change in technology trends—i.e., information technology (IT), environmental technology (ET), and bio technology (BT); standardization of intellectual property and value assessment; and patent law related claims. “All professors involved in the course are experts who are equipped with hands-on experiences in working on intellectual property for a long time at government agencies, companies, and law firms,” Professor Chul-Ho Kim, responsible for overseeing the entire program, said. He also expressed his confidence that “We have set up an academic system to induct highly qualified professionals and engineers, capable of handling all aspects of intellectual property related issues, into work places. Our coursework encompasses technology, research and development (R&D), and management, and students who complete the program will be ready to tackle down any intellectual property matters in the 21st century.” Freshmen convocation for the IP M.S. Program is scheduled on February 20th at KAIST, and President Nam Pyo Suh and Commissioner Jung-Sik Koh of Korean Intellectual Property (KIPO) will attend the event.
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